If you are on the path to becoming a Linux developer, surely you will understand that computer science and programming are a core part of this journey.
Even though Linux holds a small market share compared to others, it’s a great operating system with automation capabilities, access to devices and software endpoints via the command line because everything is a file. Also, more than half of OS that run the majority of servers are Linux.
But if you want to write software for Linux, not just use it, you need to learn a suitable language. So the question is, which language or languages should you learn in order to propel yourself forward in your beginning career and deepen your understanding of the Linux world? Let’s take a closer look!
What Are the Best Programming Languages for Linux Devs?
Top Programming Languages to Learn
Top Programming Languages to Learn
Almost every language in the world has found home in Linux at some point in its 30 odd years of history. But here you’ll find a review of five such languages that are currently suitable for Linux-based development.
Most listings would be incomplete without Java as it is one of the most versatile languages. And considering Linux, Java may well be the most natural option for server-side development. Along with that, the language also powers quite a few game servers like Minecraft.
It’s first on the list because it’s beginner-friendly with many good courses. For example, you can learn Java on CodeGym – a platform that offers hours of practical tasks to develop the coding skill, as well as a peer community and blog to support the learning curve.
Pros of Java:
- Java has a mild learning curve thanks to object-oriented programming, which is quite a simple concept to grasp, and human-readable syntax.
- It has a big online community that can help you learn and find solutions to some difficult issues.
- Java is an industry-standard for enterprise computing.
- It’s platform-independent, thanks to the Java Virtual Machine.
- You don’t need to write code for memory management as it is automatic in Java.
- It requires a license for commercial use, though none for personal.
- It needs a little help to create a native-looking interface.
- While Java syntax is simple, you will sometimes need a lot of words to describe functions, like in English which Java is trying to emulate.
Python is also a general-purpose language used in web, mobile, and game development. But it’s currently starring in AI, machine learning projects, and scientific research. There are even libraries for such development, like TensorFlow and Keras.
It’s also a more beginner-friendly language because it’s quite simple and its syntax closely resembles English.
Pros of Python:
- Since the language is easy to use, it is also possible to accelerate development.
- Python is open-source and has a good community of contributors.
- You can find suitable libraries for all sorts of development.
- It’s good for prototyping startup projects.
- While quick to code, you may find Python apps lacking in speed.
- Threading has many limitations and isn’t as good as in Java.
- Python isn’t well suited for mobile development if you decide to venture into this field.
Another popular language among startups is Ruby. It’s also used for building web apps. It’s one of the best technologies to handle large web frameworks. But still a less popular option overall.
Pros of Ruby:
- It doesn’t take much time to code in Ruby coupled with its framework Rails, which makes it handy for prototyping.
- Despite the lower popularity, there’s still a good community of Ruby developers on GitHub.
- You’ll find a lot of tools and libraries that aid in developing reliable software.
- Ruby’s Rail framework is one of the most secure technologies currently in use.
- There are speed limitations for applications that work with massive volumes of data (like Twitter).
- Not the most flexible technology when building anything other than web apps.
- Low popularity and competition negatively affect the job market.
C++ is a time-tested and efficient language, and also a good choice if you already have experience coding software. The learning curve is very steep.
Nonetheless, C++ is a good option for Linux as it is used in a lot of low-level systems. And there’s a lot of good documentation for using C++ on Linux.
Pros of C++:
- The code doesn’t depend on the platform it runs on so you can create one interface that will work on multiple operating systems.
- The language supports different paradigms so you can code using imperative, object-oriented, and generic concepts.
- You get absolute control of memory management.
- It’s possible to scale projects when built with C++.
- It’s difficult to use pointers, especially considering your program will crash if you misuse any of them.
- Since you control the memory, there’s no automatic garbage collection.
- It doesn’t support threads, even as badly as Python.
The Go language is quite a young technology sprouted by Google developers. Curiously enough, one of the Golang creators, Ken Thompson, also created and implemented the first Unix system.
Many startups use Go for developing the backend of their systems.
Pros of Golang:
- The code is compiled into machine code which makes Go apps fast-performing.
- Go is a static typing language which makes it suitable for working with relational databases.
- The language has interfaces so you can write more functional, modular, and testable code.
- Unlike C++, it has garbage collection which also makes for safer use of pointers.
- Unlike Java, it doesn’t have generics which limits what code you can reuse.
- It’s hard to tell if interfaces are implemented since they are implicit.
- Doesn’t have the most welcoming community.
- Dependency management can be confusing for those who are new to Go.
Knowing a language or two is essential for becoming a professional in Linux development. You can start with Java or Python that are more beginner-friendly and work your way up to C++ or another more complex technology.
Each language has its pros and cons, so it’s up to you to choose the one which is the most useful for your goals as a Linux coder.